Sunday, September 5, 2004

GOP leaders to meet
with Allen, discuss future



By Jennifer Edwards
and Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writers

Hamilton County Republican leaders said Saturday they plan to meet among themselves and with Prosecutor Mike Allen in the next few days to discuss his political future.

The meetings will come days after Democrats said they planned to offer a write-in candidate for the prosecutor's office. Friday, Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken, a Democrat, said he is considering a write-in campaign against Allen.

Republican Party chairman Mike Barrett scoffed at a possible Luken candidacy: "Charlie Luken as prosecutor? Give me a break."

Allen, a Republican who once chaired the county GOP, was elected in 2000. He is running unopposed this year, just as in 2000. The lack of opposition illustrates that Democrats saw no chance of winning an office held for decades by such influential Republicans as Sheriff Simon L. Leis Jr. and State Treasurer Joseph Deters.

But Allen, 48, became politically vulnerable when he admitted to a 31/2-year sexual affair with an assistant prosecutor on his staff. That woman, Rebecca Collins, 33, sued Allen and the board of county commissioners - alleging she was sexually harassed. Allen has denied the allegations.

Barrett said several Republican Hamilton County elected officials and state representatives will meet to talk about the Allen situation. Allen has said he won't resign. The deadline to file as a write-in candidate is Sept. 13.

Until he speaks with Allen, Barrett will not discuss if a Republican write-in candidate is possible.

Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, a Republican, said Allen "has to decide what is best for him, his family and the community."

"Given everything that has occurred, I have grave doubts about voting for him,'' Heimlich said. "That doesn't necessarily mean I would vote for anyone else who might decide to run."

Heimlich, a former assistant county prosecutor, declined to say if he would run for the prosecutor's job if Allen resigns. He has said that if Allen were a county employee, he would fire him.

"The seat is not vacant now," Heimlich said. "I am not going to speculate on what would happen if that changed."




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